US Geological Survey



Date of this Version



Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2016


Bull Environ Contam Toxicol (2016) 97:593–600


Lead (Pb) and calcium (Ca) concentrations were measured in fillet samples of longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis) and redhorse suckers (Moxostoma spp.) collected in 2005–2012 from the Big River, which drains a historical mining area in southeastern Missouri and where a consumption advisory is in effect due to elevated Pb concentrations in fish. Lead tends to accumulated in Ca-rich tissues such as bone and scale. Concentrations of Pb in fish muscle are typically low, but can become elevated in fillets from Pb-contaminated sites depending in part on how much bone, scale, and skin is included in the sample. We used analysis-of-covariance to normalize Pb concentration to the geometric mean Ca concentration (415 ug/g wet weight, ww), which reduced variation between taxa, sites, and years, as was the number of samples that exceeded Missouri consumption advisory threshold (300 ng/g ww). Concentrations of Pb in 2005–2012 were lower than in the past, especially after Ca-normalization, but the consumption advisory is still warranted because concentrations were [300 ng/g ww in samples of both taxa from contaminated sites. For monitoring purposes, a simple linear regression model is proposed for estimating Ca-normalized Pb concentrations in fillets from Pb:Ca molar ratios as a way of reducing the effects of differing preparation methods on fillet Pb variation.